The allotment cutting garden - early April 2020

Monday, April 06, 2020

It's high time I wrote about the flower plot I have at the allotment which is entering it's second full season. Last year exceeded expectations and this year is set to be another cracker, if the universe will let me continue to go there. 
There's not a great deal to see at present so most of the pictures are really quite dull, however they will soon be full of activity. With these unexpected hours of time I've been gifted due to the normal structure of the week being dissolved we have been able to spend weeding and tending the allotments. I'm often found on the flower plot as it's my precious place and while C kindly topped up my woodchip paths it's all my space to tend. The orchard patch and main plot also take up my time but mostly just weeding there although between the trees is my flower overspill area.

I've waffled already and we've only just started. I'll take you round the bays. The first one, above and below is predominantly spring bulbs and flowers. Daffodils and tulips to start with then alliums coming and honesty about to flower. The honesty will be kept for its seed pods. I kept this bay of flowers at the front as early spring colour is most cheerful.

Behind that, the scabious and larkspur. The scabious has self seeded well, so I've carefully weeded to avoid tearing out this year's plants. Some of last year's remain and I'm assuming will grow. The larkspur were direct sown last spring and were woeful so I'm trying to germinate them in the greenhouse (not having much luck) but the very first year they did grow so fingers crossed.
Below, two beds of dahlias which were mulched so I hope they all survive. I'm anticipating it could be another few weeks before shoots emerge.
Also three peonies, which didn't manage much last year and I thought two had died completely yet all three are shooting this year which has given me a brilliant surprise, COME ON!!!!

 Above and below, the rudbeckia and bergamot bed. I have about 3 or 4 types of rudbeckia, I was kindly given 5 goldsturm perrenials which are delightful. My own marmalade were reluctant to germinate last year and cherry brandy had a go but I have rustic dwarf as well this year so hopefully lots of oranges!!! The bergamot was up the middle and has proved itself a decent perennial, it's clumped up nicely in readiness to shoot this year.

Above, the bed on the back is echinacea and zinnia. This was the least impressive last year which was unexpected as these are two of my most favourite flowers. Echinacea seem to be a rather picky flower, deciding whether to settle in the place you have chosen or if they'd rather die than put up with the conditions. I'm insulted that one of the three I bought chose to leave me, they were meant to be vibrant oranges and reds. From seed I sowed 'white swan' which are SO SLOW to establish and take at least a year to flower, so I'm hoping that some grow this year, but to hedge my bets I'm sowing more. I also picked up a couple of pink 'magnus' but again my hopes are low.  Last year I sowed the zinnia seeds direct which I thought would be more efficient but they were slow to grow and made weeding too tricky so will be growing on in the greenhouse this year with oodles more. 

Below, the back bed to the other side. My sweet williams had been growing as perennials but in ealry spring many were just crumbling apart, so looks like there will be far fewer than hoped. I'm growing more for next year but that's AGES away, grumble, grumble. The whopper Schubertii alliums are still growing, though only 7 out of 10 this year. The last two years they have been so short...

 Above, the bay of cornflowers and ammi majus is looking full. The ammi self seeds absolutely everywhere, I've picked it out for miles around!! Cornflowers are far fewer so I'll top them up. And I'll move a few ammi elsewhere as it's fantastic filler for plants that don't take up much space.

Below, the double size bed has a few bits to see. The verbena bonariensis will have self seeded like crazy so I'm hoping for a dense spray of that all over. The 5 thalictrum plants went unseen last year which was sad, I think 2 may have bothered to live so maybe they will rise above last year and bloom. Not all the delphiniums are growing and I hoped to buy more plants this year but that won't be happening now so maybe I'll top up with something else.
The unseen side to the left will home sunflowers and cosmos.

 Well the poppies did good work in self seeding and should be a good mix of about 4 varieties. They were brilliant in late spring but then the bed just looked shabby with stems all summer so I'll grow ammi and cosmos to fill it out with colour while the poppy stems dry out.
The lupins at the end of the poppy bed were a delight and I have some more seeds growing to add to these.

 Lastly, the bed at the front. This was the mix of whatever I had to fill it up. The anemone flower early spring, been looking lovely! The lily bulbs are shooting nicely, with gladioli for summer, with mesembryanthemums around them. I fulled it up with surpluses and seeds last year and I don't have any fixed plants for this one so wait and see.
So that's my cutting patch! Indeed I didn't cut much at all last year but the other week C suggested we might benefit from popping some vases of colour round the house now we're trapped at home which I though was an excellent idea so immediately snipped off some fresh stems. I'll be taking as many home as I can for as long as lockdown carries on and I'm grateful to have this as a pool to draw from.

Take care,

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